The Epsom Dash (3.45) provides the usual Derby Day puzzle, and we've two strong fancies against the field in JUST THAT LORD and HATHIQ.
Track specialist Just That Lord has an excellent strike rate at this unique Surrey circuit reading 2331. He beat Dark Shot over course and distance back in April on fast ground and was then put aside and kept fresh for this.
Dark Shot advertised the form in style when a close recent second to the very smart and in form Duke Of Firenze. They have both gone up the weights more than Just The Lord who beat them in April and is now just 3 lbs. higher.
He ran a cracker in this last year when drawn in stall one from which he broke quickly and worked his way across to the stands side. He got the better of Caspian Prince in a duel up front and under all the circumstances he did well to hold third place after his early exertions.
He has a low enough draw again though a much better one in box 5, but even more importantly the ground will be very much in his favour this time. That means he can race away up the centre of the track unlike when it's soft underfoot conditions as the only place to be under those circumstances is tight against the stands rail. So all in all plenty going for John Egan's mount, not least his clear liking for the track.
Hathiq has burst spectacularly on the scene in recent weeks. In his days with Owen Burrows he broke a pelvis and when recovered was snapped up for just "three grand" by shrewd young trainer Denis Hogan. The sole Irish raider comes here in simply cracking form and expect the usual muttering about Irish horses being well handicapped should he scoot home.
He was superb at The Curragh last Sunday, with some seasoned watchers comparing the speedball with One Cool Cat who was simply electric on The Curragh in his juvenile days. Hogan is never one to get carried away but describes him as the quickest horse he has ever trained. Coming from the man who sent out Titonus to win the Rockingham and the Scurry at The Curragh two years ago that is a serious claim.
His new Irish rating is 95 but as this race was an early closer he only gets a 4 lbs. rise for his runaway Curragh success which leaves him 7 lbs. well in at the ratings. In red hot form he can make them all hop and if Rory Cleary gets him motoring early on the stands side then it could be one way traffic.
As ever plenty with chances like Copper Knight, Duke Of Firenze, Eeh Bah Gum - who met all sorts of traffic problems last week - and Blue De Vega, but Just That Lord and Hathiq can give them all plenty to think about.
1/2 Point Each Way Hathiq (9/2 Skybet paying 6 places)
1/2 Point Each Way Just The Lord (14/1 generally, look for bookies paying 5 places)
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